I stare at the file on my desk. Her picture is clipped to the front of it. I sip from my whiskey glasses as I rock in my desk chair. I cannot get the girl off my mind. There is something about her that is just… different. My wolf wants to know what makes her different; why she smells like nothing.
My security specialist came back with this information awfully fast like he already had it waiting. Now I had to decide if I would actually read this file. I knew this would be an invasion of her privacy, but I felt like I needed to know more about her.
Apparently, I was not alone in my desire to know more about her. Although, my brother's tactics were a little more straight forward than my own. When I went to speak to him about it today, his assistant informed me he had her push everything today. Gentry had not mentioned anything when we left this morning.
I thrummed my fingers on my desk, lost in thought. My wolf was drawn to her and I kept ending up cornering her. Gentry barged in then.
"They accepted your offer," he said, tossing a folder onto my desk. I pulled it over her file, hoping he did not see it. "I do feel like I should say, there are much easier ways to talk to a girl than to buy the diner she works at…"
"I am diversifying certain investment portfolios. The establishment shows great promise," I said dismissively.
"Or it employs a pretty little brown-haired waitress that you are secretly stalking," he said with a smirk and he plopped down in one of the chairs across from me. I rolled my eyes at him. "Look, Jaime might not care enough to pay attention to what you are doing but I am your best friend. I know what you're doing but I just think you are going about it in a weird way."
"It's none of your concern, Gentry. Do you need anything else?"
"Yea, here," he said, passing me a small note. "If you cracked open that file you have this, but I don't think you have yet. I know deep down you won't. But Calder already has it, so I am going to even the playing field here." He stood up as I stared at him confused. "See you at home," he said as he turned and left the office.
Even the playing field? What did he mean by that? I looked down at the note and realized it was a phone number. He gave me her phone number.
Calder and I helped in the garden with Rex then moved into the kitchen to help prepare dinner. As dinner approached, the center began to fill with folks ready to eat. Once dinner was ready, we helped serve everyone dinner. Other volunteers had shown up while we were preparing the meal, but Marcy had explained that sometimes, volunteer attendance fluctuated and they didn't always have enough people to help.
Julie had insisted that we had done more than enough by the time dinner was done being served and it was time to clean up. Some of the folks who came to eat stayed to help clean up. Julie and Marcy shooed Calder and I out after that.
We left the building and headed back towards the subway. Calder's hand found mine and he intertwined our fingers once again. "Thank you for joining me today," he said as we walked.
"No thank you for bringing me. That was wonderful," I said. The whole time we were helping, I got to learn all about the programs the center used to help its community.
"Did you have fun?" he asked.
"So much," I said, giving him a smile. He smiled right back.
"I guess it's time to get you home. I am sure you had things to do on your day off." The journey home was much like the way there. Calder held my hand in the subway until we boarded the train. It was even busier now and we squished even closer together. Calder held onto me with his arm around my waist even more possessively this time. Before I knew it, we were back at my apartment building.
Calder stopped outside the building door. "This is where I will leave you tonight. Thank you for coming with me today," he said. He reached up and pushed a piece of hair out of my face and tucked it behind my ear.
"Thank you for taking me. I really enjoyed that," I said with a small smile.
"Can I text you later?" he asked.
"Sure," I said softly. He smiled brightly.
"Goodbye, Remi," he said. With a lingering look, he finally turned and left. I headed inside and up to my apartment. As I unlocked my door, my phone rang. He did not wait very long. I looked at my phone but did not recognize the number on the caller ID.
"Hello?" I answered.
"Good evening," a deep voice said.
"Um, who is this?" I asked. I entered my apartment and closed the door.
"Cullen Carlisle. Is this Remi?"
"Oh, um yes. But how…."
"I got your phone number from Gentry," he said. His voice was gruff.
"Okay. Um, how can I help you?"
"Are you busy right now?"
I was a little shocked by his question. "I-I was about to make some dinner and take care of some chores…"
"Hmm." Silence stretched between us.
"Did you, um, need something?" I asked finally. He still did not say anything I wasn't sure if he was thinking or simply wasn't going to say anything. "If there is nothing else… I think I am going to go…"
I swallowed. He did not say anything else for a moment. "Yea?"
"I want to show you something."
"You want to show me something? Like now?"
"Um…" I hesitated. This was the first conversation I had with the guy and I had not even given him my number. Plus, I was sort of seeing his brother. "It's just…"
"I won't be mentioning this to Calder. I don't care what you do with my brother."
"Oh, uh…" Of course, he knew about Calder and I. I am sure they like different types of girls anyway. "Sure, I guess. When?"
"I will pick you up at 9 o'clock." The line disconnected as he hung up. Well, Calder was definitely the one with better social skills. I stared at my phone for a moment. I guess I should hurry up and get things done. I had less than 2 hours before he would be here.
I made myself a quick sandwich and wrapped it in a napkin before grabbing my laundry basket to carry down to the laundry room.
Am I really about to reveal myself to her? I thought as I drove to her apartment. I knew this was a risky move but there was no other way to be sure if she was supernatural and if she was cloaked without a witch. We did not exactly have an ample supply of those running around.
My wolf was anxious in a happy way at the thought of seeing Remi and I did not understand it. He simply wanted to be around her like she was our mate. But neither of us could say she was. I was hoping by taking her beyond the boundary, whatever was blocking her would be removed and I could identify her better.
If she does know anything about my world, then she may already know what I am. It is not like we hide it in the ordinary realm. But her behavior to now does not really tell me that she does. I still wanted to speak to Calder about what he is doing with the girl, but this would hopefully tell me what she is.
I parked along the curb outside of her building. I was only a few minutes early so I figured I would go to her apartment to collect her. I walked into her building and up the stairs. I already knew exactly which apartment was hers. Even in the ordinary realm, we had superior senses that made it easy to track people. Being an Alpha just made that even easier.
When I got to her door, I checked the time. It was only two minutes until 9 so I did not hesitate to knock. I heard movement on the other side of the door and a pause. Then soft padding coming towards the door. "Can I help-" he started to say as she opened the door and her eyes landed on me. Her eyes got impossibly wide. "Wh-what are you…"
"It is 9 oc'clock," I said.
"Yea but how did you know which apartment was mine?"
She had me there. "Are you ready?" I said deciding to just ignore her question.
She looked shocked at my question. "Yea, mostly, um. Just a second," she said. She turned around, leaving the door open. I watched her walk over to her bed and pull on a pair of shoes. Her caramel-colored hair spilled down her back. It was much longer than I thought. My fingers itched to run through it. I shook the thought from my head.
Once she pulled her shoes on, she picked up a coat from her bed and pulled it on before turning around. She walked towards me standing in the doorway. She nodded and I turned and began walking back towards the stairs. I heard her locking her door and jogging to catch up with me. We walked in silence outside to the car. When we got there, I held the door open for her and she sat down inside. When I got in the car, she was looking at her phone smiling. She quickly shoved it in her pocket.
I started the car and pulled into the road. I made my way to the highway that led out of town. Luckily, the traffic was sparse tonight. I was able to easily weave in and out of the traffic and speed towards the boundary.
"Where are we going?" she asked quietly. I continued to speed down the highway towards the boundary. The exit was only a mile away and it would be only a few minutes after that. Her phone dinged in her pocket, but she didn't look at it. "Cullen…" she whispered.
I peeked at her and I could see she was a little pale. I stepped on the gas pedal, pushing my car faster. "Cullen… where are you taking me…" she whispered. I could hear some fear in her voice now. I took the exit and sped down the winding road. I had driven this route enough times that I could go as fast as I wanted.
"Please slow down," she said. I looked at her again and her face scrunched up like she was in pain. Her phone dinged again, and she continued to ignore it. I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket; I ignored it and continued to drive. "Cullen… please…" her voice was almost a whimper. Peering over at her again, her eyes were squeezed shut. We were close to the boundary now.
She leaned forward, doubling herself over. "Ahhhh," she cried softly.
"What's wrong?" I asked. She did not answer, just continued to clutch her waist. My phone continued to vibrate in my pocket.
I sped through the boundary and she let out a strangled scream. I slammed on the breaks, bringing the car to a halt on the other side, the Supernatural Realm. I turned to her in the passenger seat and she was panting with tears coming from her eyes.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
She nodded her head and sat up some. Her phone dinged again. She turned her head towards me, and her scent smacked me in the face. I inhaled deeply.
"Wolf," I said, and my wolf screamed "MATE!" at me. I was instantly out of the car and around to her door. I threw it open and pulled her from the car.
A growl tore through my chest. Her eyes were wide in fear; she had to know she was caught. I bared my fangs at her. She tried to pull away from me, but my grip was tight on her. "Explain, now," I said.
Her eyes were welling up with tears. I could hear her phone ringing in her pocket. "Explain what?" she cried softly.
"Why are you hiding?" I growled.
"I'm n-not… I-I don't know wh-what you're-" she stuttered.
"Enough!" I said shaking her.
"Don't hurt our mate!" my wolf was screaming at me.
"Cullen… y-you're hurting m-me…" she whimpered. I let her arm go and she crumpled to the ground. I ran my hand through my hair in frustration. She has been a werewolf this entire time. Why was she so well cloaked? Why was she hiding in the ordinary realm?
My phone would not stop going off in my pocket. I pulled it out and answered without looking at the caller ID. "What," I said angrily.
"Did you take her?" Calder. I did not need his s**t right now.
"I'm busy," I said.
"Why is my wolf losing it in my head right now. Why is he screaming ‘mate'?"
My eyes shot to Remi still sitting on the ground. She was looking up at me. Her eyes told me she was nervous. His wolf was saying mate? But he was not even here.
"Cullen, did you cross the boundary?"
"I will be back when I am done dealing with this," I told him. I hung up the phone and put it back in my pocket.
"She's our mate. Go to her," my wolf begged.
"My patience is running thin. Explain why you were cloaked and hiding in the ordinary realm, now," I said.
She shook her head. "I don't understand what you're talking about," she said quietly.
"You expect me to believe you don't know what you are or where you are?" She just looked at me but said nothing. We stared at each other for a few moments before she started to stand. She was shaking slightly.
"I don't know what you wanted to show me, but I would really like it if you would take me back. I don't feel well, and I have no idea what you are talking about," she whispered.
"We are not leaving until you tell me the truth," I said with finality. I closed the distance between us. She stepped back until she ran into the car. I stopped only inches away from her. She looked down at the ground, avoiding eye contact with me. Using my pointer finger, I tilted her chin up so she was forced to look at me. Pleasurable tingles spread through my hand. She gasped slightly at my touch. "Let's try this again, one at a time. Why were you cloaking yourself?"
She opened and closed her mouth like she was trying to form words. Finally, she simply shook her head at me. "What do you mean ‘cloaking' myself?" I narrowed my eyes at her. If she really has no idea, then who was hiding her?
"You're scaring our mate!" Maximus, my wolf, would not stop pestering me. Being this close to her was challenging but I wanted to know who she really was. I search her blue eyes and timid expression for any indication that she knew what was going on.
"You really don't know…" I said.
Just then, a car approached us, stopping behind my own. I turned to see Calder jumping from the driver's seat and Gentry from the passenger seat. "What in the f**k did you do Cullen?" he yelled as he came closer. He stopped in his tracks when her scent hit him. His eyes went dark and I knew he was trying to get himself under control.
"How else were we supposed to know what she is?" I shot at him, stepping away from Remi and towards my brother.
"I don't know Cullen. Maybe ask her instead of just throwing her across the boundary? What if you were wrong?"
"Smell her! She was clearly hiding!"
"This isn't how you go about this!" Calder was furious now. We were standing face to face, Remi momentarily forgotten.
"This was the easiest way to find out. The security team would have flagged her if they had anything," I said to him.
"That doesn't make this okay!"
"Hey guys," Gentry tried to get our attention.
"You could have at least talked to me about this! You don't get to just make decisions like this by yourself!" Calder ranted.
"Guys, this conversation needs to wait," Gentry said again. "Something is wrong with Remi!"